Tag Archive | New York

Yes, It Exists: A NYC Loft Apartment Filled With Dirt

New York Earth Room
Photo By John Cliett Courtesy of the Dia Art Foundation

Do you like discovering weird stuff in NYC that hardly anybody else seems to know about? I sure do. A couple of years ago, Geoffrey told me about a visit he made to an art installation in SoHo which consisted of one loft apartment filled, wall-to-wall, with a waist-high layer of dirt. And I was like, “That sounds pretty weird.” Then I basically forgot all about it, until earlier this week, when I was looking for a way kill an hour between leaving the office and attending an art opening. The gallery I was going to just happened to be located around the corner from what I had been referring to as The Dirt Apartment, which is officially called the New York Earth Room, so I decided to check it out.

NY Earth Room Sign

The Earth Room is located on the second floor of an otherwise nondescript building on a block mostly occupied by prohibitively expensive designer clothing boutiques, and you have to be buzzed in from the street. A sign in the lobby tells you to walk one floor up the narrow stairs to reach your desired destination, and then you really can’t miss it. There’s a small reception area at the far end, with the viewing area of the Earth Room just past the entrance, on your right. When you first enter the space, it feels like you are in a sauna: hot, humid, almost stifling — but, despite the obvious lack of air-conditioning, the docent on duty, Brian, who was wearing a wool sweater, told me that after being in the room for a few minutes, it actually starts to feel cold in there. I was skeptical, but he was right.

The Earth Room is a loft space that spans half a city block. There are two support columns piercing the soil to your left and you can see windows on both sides of the loft. The windows on the right face Wooster Street, and ones on the left probably face a courtyard or airshaft. There’s a small, separate room directly across from the viewing area. The dirt is retrained by a Plexiglas barrier

What does it smell like in there? It smells like the earth.

Some Statistical Background:

The New York Earth Room (1977) is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by the artist Walter De Maria (1935 – 2013), the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist.

How Much Dirt Is in This Room:

250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters)
3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters)
22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters)
Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos)

Brian was very enthusiastic about answering all of my questions and he explained that the space was formerly a commercial gallery, where the Earth Room was created as a regular exhibit. Somehow, the gallery owner decided to donate the loft  to the Dia Art Foundation so that the work could remain on long-term installation (or something like that. I am likely omitting many details). The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.

The New York Earth Room is a work of art meant to be viewed, not entered. You are asked to not touch the dirt. Photography is not permitted, in accordance with wishes of the Artist.

Another interesting fact: the caretaker, Bill Dilworth, has taken care of the dirt for 28 years. The dirt is watered on a regular basis, and churned, so that the soil looks fresh.

You may not think that many people want to visit an apartment filled with dirt, but you would be incorrect. Brian told me that I was the 100th person to visit on that day, and most days there many more visitors.  I am not fronting when I suggest that being in the Earth Room may inspire you to engage in deep contemplation of the meaning of life and the existence of all things. I am now in love this exhibit and can’t wait to visit again many times. Earth Room!

The New York Earth Room is Located at 141 Wooster Street (Between Prince and Houston), 2nd Floor, SoHo, New York City. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12–6 PM (closed from 3–3:30 PM). The New York Earth Room closes for the summer on Sunday, June 17th, 2018. It will reopen on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018. The installation is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission is Free.

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Eye on Design: Scale Model of Progressland for the 1964 New York World’s Fair

Progressland Scale Model
All Photos and Video By Gail

The scale model of Progressland refers to the General Electric pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair, whose themes were “Progress through Electric Power” and “The Wonders of Atomic Energy.”

Progressland Scale Model

In a brochure from the time, Progressland is described as “a large graceful building with a curving 200-foot-wide dome, supported by a unique pattern of swirling circular pipes. It is eye-catching by day . . . and dazzlingly colorful by night.”

Progressland Scale Model

Video of Colorful, Illuminated Dome

Progressland By Walt Disney

Progressland featured a Walt Disney presentation of electricity’s history and future, as well as actual nuclear fusion first hand. In Richard Rush’s carefully crafted model, made around the time of the fair, we can today appreciate the hope imbued into the temporary architecture, which celebrated a golden era of optimism in technical innovation and scientific exploration.

In 1967, the attraction was moved to Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California as the Carousel of Progress, remaining there until 1973.

Progressland Scale Model

Photographed at the Chamber Boutique on 23rd Street, West of 10th Avenue.

Jerry Seinfeld is Street Art!

Jerry Seinfeld
Photo By Gail

What I like about this wheat-paste — by Brooklyn Street Artist Sac Six — is that it’s actually a clever mash-up of the famous Bob Gruen photo of John Lennon in his New York City T-Shirt, with the head of comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The pigeon on Jerry/John’s shoulder utters a catch phrase from a memorable episode of Sienfeld, which makes this a quintessentially NYC bit of ephemera.

Photographed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn near the Bedford L Train Station.

Duran New York: Unique European Open Faced Sandwiches!

Large Array 2
All Photos By Tom Szebeni

In NYC, event catering is a big deal business. Those in the position to hire caterers — from administrative assistants  to event planners to television production crews — are always on the lookout for reliable, hassle-free sources of delicious foods that can appeal to a variety of dietary requirements (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free) while coming in at a reasonable price. Having personally accumulated about 25 years of experience working as an office manager and administrative assistant, I know this much  to be true: when it comes to event planning, no matter if it’s for 5, 50 or 500 people, the food is everything.

Large Array

Recently, I was invited to join my friend Anne from the LuxeLifeNYC blog for a private tasting at Duran Sandwiches New York, located on Madison Avenue and 27th Street. Duran is a family owned business, originating in Vienna, Austria, and dating back about 50 years! Now, you can get their fine sandwiches in the States! This is cause to celebrate!

Round Array Close up

Duran New York is owned and operated by the completely charming  and super friendly Tom Szebeni, a former line producer for European Reality TV who came to the states and missed the delicious, open-faced sandwiches he grew to love while living in his native Hungary. When Tom decided he was ready for a career change, his love of good food and talent for bespoke customer service led him to open Duran New York. Many of the sandwich recipes served at the Madison Avenue location are actually based on traditional Austrian and Hungarian recipes.

Roast Beef with Red Onion
Roast Beef with Sweet Red Onion

We had a lovely time sitting with Tom and being entertained by his engaging stories while sampling a variety Duran’s most poplar sandwiches.

Egg Salad Lobster Salad Sirloin
Image Above By Gail

Above is a photo I took of three of my favorites: Egg Salad, Lobster Salad (especially good with a squirt of fresh lemon juice), and thinly sliced Sirloin with Cranberry Marmalade and White Asparagus. Each one was excellent in its own way, and you can see and taste the quality!

Avocado Salad

We also tasted the Avocado Salad (above) and the Sundried Tomato Salad (below), made with both sundried and fresh tomatoes, pureed to a smooth and creamy consistency along with sweet imported dates – amazing and totally vegan-friendly!

Sundried Tomato Salad

Assortment of 9
I Got Yer Picnic Right Here

Sandwich toppings are served on the most complimentary bread variety, with a choice of White, Pumpernickel bread with sesame seeds, or Whole wheat with oat. All breads are baked exclusively by Tubito’s Brick Oven Bakery of Suffern, NY, and delivered fresh daily to the store.

Cucumber and Farmers Cheese
Cucumber and Farmers Cheese, Perfect for Tea Time

Party Catering Set Up
Duran Sandwiches Get The Party Started

The sandwiches are not only amazingly delicious, but — as you can see by these photos — each one looks like a work of art!

Camembert Cheese
Camembert Cheese

Not only should Admins and PAs be seriously considering Duran Sandwiches as a new option for corporate catering, but being able to choose from a seemingly endless variety of toppings also presents an ideal solution for passed hors d’oeuvres for home holiday entertaining — when you’d rather enjoy time with your guests than spend time in the kitchen.  They’re also terrific to take as a picnic to nearby Madison Square Park!

Duran Sandwiches is located at 62 Madison Avenue at 27th Street in NYC. Call 212-576-1000 (tell them The Worley Gig sent you!) or visit them online at Duran Sandwiches Dot Com!

Duran Smail to Go Box

Small Array

Get Small, New York! By Conrad Stojak at Dougherty Gallery

A Day at The Guggenheim By Conrad Stojak
A Day at The Guggenheim, Diorama inside a Parking Meter, By Conrad Stojak (All Photos By Gail)

Artist Conrad Stojak was taking photographs in his neighborhood one day when he happened to take a closer look at a defunct New York City Parking Meter. He noticed how the domed glass, with its tiny built-in shelf, reminded him of the dioramas he used to make in school. And then he got an idea: why not make use of the literally thousands of disused meters to make a different kind of street art?

Zeppelin Parking Only By Conrad Stojak
Zeppelin Parking Only, Close Up

Having had some experience as a graffiti artist, and having realized that dressing in all black was not necessarily the way to go, Conrad ventured out at night in florescent clothing like that worn by construction workers, thus hiding in plain sight. With tiny figurines he purchased from a hobby store, he used chopsticks and glue to carefully create dioramas that would tell stories of various aspects of city life.

Bag Lady By Conrad Stojak
Bag Lady

Bag Lady Close Up
Bag Lady, Close Up

Overnight, the glue on his tiny figures would dry and he would return with his camera to immortalize the scene forever. The best part about this project is that the artist wasn’t leaving any permanent mark or anything that could be construed as vandalism on private, public or city property.

Red Tulips in Parking Meter
Conrad also used Parking Meters as Flower Vases

Looking at photographs of these dioramas encourage endless imaginative extrapolation regarding the story behind these tiny scenes, and there is a printed version of Conrad’s back story on how the project  evolved posted along with the photographs at Daugherty Gallery. This is a must-read, as his completely engaging personal story adds great value to his unique artwork, the likes of which I’ve only seen in the photographs of artist Randy Hage.

The Muse 2 Close Up
The Muse 2, Close Up

Conrad’s beautifully framed photographs are also very affordable, each selling for around $300, so they are quite a good investment, as I am sure he is an artist we will be hearing from for a long time. You can find out more about the art of Conrad Stojak at This Link. The exhibit opened on Friday, May 16th and I am not sure how long it will be up, so call the number below to plan your visit accordingly.

Over the Steel Rainbow
Over the Steel Rainbow, Close Up

The Dougherty Gallery at Crescent Grill is located at 38-40 Crescent Street at 39th Avenue, LIC Queens, NY 11101. Phone 718-729-4040 or Visit Crescent Grill Dot Com for more information or to make a Dinner Reservation.

Conrad Stojak Parking Meter Art